When you purchase your first home, you are vaguely aware that one of the major responsibilities of home ownership is that you are in charge of maintaining, repairing, and caring for your house, inside and out. What you may not know is how many minute details and elements of your home must be attended to in order to keep your home in top working condition and to keep things looking nice. One element you may not have thought of that requires regular maintenance is your driveway, and as a first time homeowner you also likely have no idea what sealcoating a driveway is or entails. So, get to know a little more about this important home maintenance task so that you can keep your home pristine and like new for as long as possible.
Why Maintain Your Driveway?
You may wonder why you have to perform driveway maintenance in the first place. After all, asphalt is a hard and durable material that should last and be fine on its own, right?
Actually, this is not entirely true. Asphalt is a strong and durable material and can last for many years. However, to do so, it needs to be protected from damage and the elements. Extreme temperatures and general wear can cause cracks in the asphalt that if left untreated can cause moisture to seep in. This will completely erode and undermine the structural integrity of your asphalt driveway.
Maintaining your asphalt driveway involves both preventing the cracks and damage from occurring through sealcoating, and treating the damage by filling the cracks.
Why Does Your Asphalt Driveway Crack?
The asphalt that makes up your driveway cracks primarily due to exposure to water and moisture when not properly sealed. The water starts a chemical reaction between the chemical elements that make up the asphalt and the chemical elements of water. This reaction or process is known as oxidation.
Oxidation causes the asphalt to erode as its chemical makeup is altered causing the cracks and holes that are made worse by continued moisture exposure and by frequent use of your driveway after the asphalt is compromised.
What Does Sealcoating Do?
Sealcoating (done by professionals such as those from ASAP Asphalt Sealing & Paving Co.) is a way of placing a protective layer between your asphalt driveway and the moisture it is exposed to on a regular basis. For newer driveways, sealcoating prevents the oxidation and erosion process before it even starts, and for older driveways, it serves to replace any particles that have been naturally lost over time and through use and friction on your driveway surface.
Essentially, sealcoating is your best defense against driveway erosion and cracks. It will keep your driveway looking newer longer, and will delay the need to replace your driveway entirely for as long as possible.
How Often Should You Sealcoat?
Sealcoating is a process in which you spray or brush the coating material over the entire surface of your driveway and allow it to set before using the driveway again. This relatively easy process should be performed approximately every three years to keep your driveway in the best possible condition.
However, if you live in a region or area that is climatically more moist or has a great deal more precipitation on average than the rest of the country, you may need to sealcoat every two years or even every year. Pay attention to the state of your driveway every year and/or consult a paving contractor if you feel your driveway may need more frequent sealcoating.
Now that you know more about driveway maintenance and sealcoating, you will be able to keep your driveway looking like new for as long as possible. Keep an eye on your driveway and watch out for any cracks or holes that may be caused by oxidation and erosion, and act fast to prevent the problem from spreading and/or recurring.